Author Profile Picture

Wendy Melville

Personal Group

Head of Marketing

Read more about Wendy Melville

‘Hire’ ambitions: recruitment in the modern world


If you believe what you read, in a few short years recruiters will be replaced by algorithms that will do all this work for us. However, with the emphasis moving towards a more flexible and adaptable approach, should we actually be worried?

Well, I’m not convinced enough to start running for the hills just yet! So, what can we do as recruiters to ensure that our messaging and approach appeals to the modern employee?

In the past, conversations with candidates were centred around money and what they could do for the employer. Now it’s all about what we, as an employer, can do for them. Candidates will no longer stand for a quick run through approach to a recruitment brief. They expect to be well informed of the details of the role and the culture of the company, with the benefits often taking centre stage.

So why not tailor your messaging to what candidates really want to know?

Access to new jobs is now, quite literately, at your fingertips with smartphones in almost everyone’s pocket. So, the need to stand out and really engage with talent is, in my opinion, critical in the world of modern recruitment.

With more generations in the workplace than ever before, and an increasing importance on addressing the gender pay gap, we have a responsibility to ensure we are appealing to all audiences.

For instance, I’ve recently read that men feel confident applying for a job when they meet only 60% of the criteria, whereas women tend to look for a 100% match before applying.

If this is true, then surely the recruitment industry as a whole has to look at how we present job adverts in order to appeal to a diverse audience.

Gender-neutral job ads

At Personal Group we have made some changes in our job ads, using more “gender neutral” advertisements in the past couple years and are using more of a storytelling approach.

This really helps candidates understand what it might be like to work for us from the off, presenting the feeling behind the job, as opposed to a definitive list of requirements.

I am lucky enough here to have relative freedom in my approach to this. However, I was recently speaking to a peer who works for a well-known UK corporate, she described the trouble she’s had getting the powers that be to agree to the smallest change in formatting for their adverts.

In today’s recruitment market it’s hard enough to keep up with the curve, and harder still to stay ahead of it, but unshackling the recruitment team might be a good place to start.

Over the last couple of years, our team have also spent time developing a truer employer value proposition, meeting with our employees to really understand what it is to work here, why they joined and why they stay. This led to the business reviewing our core benefits, with enhancements being made to both maternity and paternity leave in order to better support shared parental leave.

We also extended and increased our bereavement leave to recognise the changing make up of the modern family unit.

We spent time training our people on the importance of our “talent brand” and got their opinion on our recruitment process. Our message across most (hopefully all) platforms now better reflects who we really are and the role our staff play as one of our most important assets.

The next step for us was to tie this in with our on-boarding process, believing that on-boarding starts during the very first interaction after they’ve been offered the role, not the day they walk through the door.

We’ve set out a simple guide for our managers and our employees which sees communication and relationship forging as the number one priority.

The result of all of our efforts has been a rise in applications, through both paid and direct channels, better interview conversion, an increase in employee referrals, and a significant increase in internal moves across the business, be this sideways or promotions.

Our time-to-hire across all level of roles has continued to drop and our cost-per-hire in the last two years has also dropped significantly.

It’s clear to see that recruitment in the modern world, for us at least isn’t just about CV’s and interviews. It’s about understanding the bigger picture, on-boarding, retention and talent development.

It requires creative thinking, and a willingness to challenge the traditional “that’s the way we’ve always done it” approach. As, ‘it is only the modern that ever becomes old fashioned’. 

Author Profile Picture
Wendy Melville

Head of Marketing

Read more from Wendy Melville